When Joachim Trier’s critically acclaimed supernatural thriller Thelma received twelve nominations for this year’s Amanda Awards, some eyebrows were raised as the year’s most commercially successful domestic film, Harald Zwart’s The 12th Man, received just three production based nominations.
The point of controversy goes back to 2017 when the team behind Thelma threatened to boycott this year’s Amanda Awards if changes were not made to the voting criteria. Specifically, they demanded that the requirement for commercial success be removed because it was conceivable that a film could go on to win an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film yet be disqualified from winning an Amanda.
Producer Thomas Robsahm told VG at the time: “Thelma obviously has public appeal, so we are not doing this for ourselves. On the contrary, it hurts us because we believe that Thelma will qualify for nominations. But we don’t feel that the Amanda Awards should continue to operate in an entirely different way to every other national film awards in the world.”
Taking this criticism on board, the Amanda Committee implemented a raft of changes and changed the jury format from several smaller ones to a single fifteen person jury with clearer criteria to follow. However, the first casualty of these changes seems to be Harald Zwart’s WWII thriller The 12th Man.
Producer Espen Horn believes this is no coincidence: “I regret with a great deal of astonishment and interest that a boycott was threatened last year, which led to a statute change this year and 12 nominations for those who threatened to boycott this year. There is something here to discuss.”
“I have devoted my whole life to making movies for the public, for the masses. Because it’s fun, exciting and satisfying. Now that the rules have been changed, one wonders if the audience has been forgotten in favour of the artistic.”
Winners of the 2018 Amanda Awards will be announced during the 46th Norwegian Film Festival in Haugesund on Saturday 18th August in a ceremony hosted by Henriette Steenstrup and John Brungot.